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I haven’t been to a movie for — like — ages. Ever since moving to Israel, going to flicks has been low on the list. Not sure why, just busy I guess. At any rate, a friend of mine thought it would be fun to see Wonder Woman primarily because of Gal Gadot (aka Wave) an Israeli actress who is drop dead gorgeous. BTW, because of Wave starring in the film, Wonder Woman has been banned in Lebanon.

Considering neither of us are into action films, we both liked the movie. There you go two thumbs up. The movie gives us the background on Wonder Woman, about her childhood and upbringing on the magic island with beautiful, strong Amazon warriors. Then takes us to the ravages and brutality of WWI, that war that was supposed to end all wars where Wonder Woman must destroy the evil God of War, Aries.

Going to the movies in Israel is different than in the US. You know how in the US you buy a ticket then go to the theatre, find a seat and plop yourself down? Well, in Israel you have assigned seating. My friend told me in Israel it has to be that way. Yeah, I can see why, you’d have people fighting over seats, we even got into a little tiff with an old man about whose seat was assigned where. Anyway, we managed to figure out who sat where while the previews were still playing and were able to settle in just as the movie started.

It turned out I was sitting between my friend and an old man. Every time Wave came on the scene larger than life in her ever so sexy warrior outfit, the guy next to be would mumble something like, “ah.” He made other noises too. I think he even cried at the end. Everybody got a little teary eyed at the end.

In Israel, and other countries, an American movie is considered a foreign film even though most of the movies in the theatre are American films, and as such has Hebrew subtitles.  I tried to read the subtitles then remembered I understood English and didn’t need subtitles.

Mid-way through the film right during an exciting action sequence, the movie stopped, the lights go on, and I’m thinking the movie reel broke something. My friend explained it was intermission. Intermission? On the screen was a picture of a woman looking at her watch with the timer counting down five minutes. Bathroom time it is. They do that for every film at this particular theatre.

Then during the grand finale I hear this, “ring-ring.” At first I thought it was part of the movie. “Ring-ring.” Oh, it’s somebody’s cell phone. “Ring-ring.” Shut off the damn phone, “”Ring-ring.” Then finally, in a non-whisper oblivious that others are trying to watch a movie, “Hello,” followed by Hebrew chatter. Couth is sadly lacking in this country. At any rate, if you want to see a movie about a strong, empowered woman with an anti-war theme (two other reasons the film was banned in Lebanon), Wonder Woman is fun summer viewing.

 

 

 

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My husband won’t watch Game of Thrones because he can’t stand the British accent, and by British he means British, Irish, and Scottish. Seriously. What kind of stupid reason is that? Everybody loves the British accent. He also is of the opinion when there is nudity on a TV show or movie, it is to get the male attention because it doesn’t have anything to offer. He’s kind of right, nudity is often used because of a lack of plot, characterization and other elements that give fiction substance.

 

But Game of Thrones the HBO series has it all: intrigue, cool dragons, terrific settings and costuming, intense characters, characters you admire, characters you worry about — which is stupid because they are after all make believe — characters you love to hate, and best of all sex and violence.

 

Oh yes, my husband is missing out on a really good TV series.

 

I on the other hand like the series so much, I decided to read the books. Not being much of a SciFi/Fantasy reader these are not the type of books I would normally choose. Personally, I am always looking for a good psychological thriller, like Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I like fiction that really gets into people’s heads which means written in first person among other things. So I rarely read the SciFi/Fantasy genre because of that and I’m too much of a realist to care about space aliens at war with vampires and space dragons. You know, crap like that.

 

Another reason, I decided to read Mr. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is to better understand what was going on in the show. After the first season, many of the relationships were unclear and reading the book did clarify certain details that by their very nature would be difficult to put into the TV drama. So far, the HBO series aligned with the books fairly well.

 

Even though the HBO series is excellent, my recommendation would be to not read the books unless you really love that type genre. There are several problems with Martin’s series that drive me up a friggin’ wall.

 

One of the problems is he has no compunction killing off key characters who are the good guys like Eddard Stark, later his wife, and oldest son. I’m just waiting for him to kill off Sansa and Arya, one of the dragons (that would be horrible), or my favorite Tyrion. He also kills off much too soon the characters we love to hate like Joffrey and Ramsey.

 

Another issue is that Martin has named every single character in the series of books of approximately 1000+ pages each. He has named characters even if their only purpose is to further the story along by being in one scene never to be heard from again. Worse, he names everything from kingdoms, horses, castles, ships, establishments, and even swords. He goes way overboard with the naming thing.

 

Every time I come upon a new name and realize this character will never been seen or written about again, my mind wanders from the story and I try to think how this author managed to conjured up all these names. Off the top of your head, can you come up with a thousand names? And how does he keep track of the names? Does he have a wall in his house dedicated to names and places in the book? Or does he use Excel to keep the names straight? I’m thinking if he is able to keep track of all those names in his head, this man has to be completely insane. Like maybe he should be writing in a padded cell.

 

Last, there is the problem of the long summers and long winters. I guess this story takes place on a planet very much like earth except that seasons last up to ten years. How is this even remotely possible? So I looked up some possible explanations which include the planet has some kind of weird wobble or maybe an elongated orbit. I was wondering if it actually orbited a red giant or something. But my explanation about the seasons is that George R. R. Martin is able to keep so many names in his head he doesn’t have room for physical science – not that a fantasy book is supposed to be scientific.

My husband won’t watch Game of Thrones because he can’t stand the British accent, and by British he means British, Irish, and Scottish. Seriously. What kind of stupid reason is that? Everybody loves the British accent. He also is of the opinion when there is nudity on a TV show or movie, it is to get the male attention because it doesn’t have anything to offer. He’s kind of right, nudity is often used because of a lack of plot, characterization and other elements that give fiction substance.

But Game of Thrones the HBO series has it all: intrigue, cool dragons, terrific settings and costuming, intense characters, characters you admire, characters you worry about — which is stupid because they are after all make believe — characters you love to hate, and best of all sex and violence.

Oh yes, my husband is missing out on a really good TV series.

I on the other hand like the series so much, I decided to read the books. Not being much of a SciFi/Fantasy reader these are not the type of books I would normally choose. Personally, I am always looking for a good psychological thriller, like Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I like fiction that really gets into people’s heads which means written in first person among other things. So I rarely read the SciFi/Fantasy genre because of that and I’m too much of a realist to care about space aliens at war with vampires and space dragons. You know, crap like that.

Another reason, I decided to read Mr. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is to better understand what was going on in the show. After the first season, many of the relationships were unclear and reading the book did clarify certain details that by their very nature would be difficult to put into the TV drama. So far, the HBO series aligned with the books fairly well.

Even though the HBO series is excellent, my recommendation would be to not read the books unless you really love that type genre. There are several problems with Martin’s series that drive me up a friggin’ wall.

One of the problems is he has no compunction killing off key characters who are the good guys like Eddard Stark, later his wife, and oldest son. I’m just waiting for him to kill off Sansa and Arya, one of the dragons (that would be horrible), or my favorite Tyrion. He also kills off much too soon the characters we love to hate like Joffrey and Ramsey.

Another issue is that Martin has named every single character in the series of books of approximately 1000+ pages each. He has named characters even if their only purpose is to further the story along by being in one scene never to be heard from again. Worse, he names everything from kingdoms, horses, castles, ships, establishments, and even swords. He goes way overboard with the naming thing.

Every time I come upon a new name and realize this character will never been seen or written about again, my mind wanders from the story and I try to think how this author managed to conjured up all these names. Off the top of your head, can you come up with a thousand names? And how does he keep track of the names? Does he have a wall in his house dedicated to names and places in the book? Or does he use Excel to keep the names straight? I’m thinking if he is able to keep track of all those names in his head, this man has to be completely insane. Like maybe he should be writing in a padded cell.

Last, there is the problem of the long summers and long winters. I guess this story takes place on a planet very much like earth except that seasons last up to ten years. How is this even remotely possible? So I looked up some possible explanations which include the planet has some kind of weird wobble or maybe an elongated orbit. I was wondering if it actually orbited a red giant or something. But my explanation about the seasons is that George R. R. Martin is able to keep so many names in his head he doesn’t have room for physical science – not that a fantasy book is supposed to be scientific.

I really enjoyed this book. Four stars out of five for sure. So I could go on and on about the virtues: good read, somewhat suspenseful, interesting main character, and art appreciation woven into the story.

One problem with the writing was sometimes the author/editors  put commas in the wrong place or misused pronouns. So you would be reading along gripped by the story and come to a sentence that was totally unclear and be like, “What?!” Then you would have to reread it a few times to understand what she was trying to say interrupting the whole flow. That happened maybe 3 or 5 times throughout the book. Okay, no big deal.

Another problem was the age of the main characters didn’t seem realistic. They seemed a lot older than the age the author gave them, so there was a bit of believability issue. Also the author seemed to be trying way too hard to be all literary and create a theme about honesty. Those readers who care about themes can come up with them by themselves — the author doesn’t need to shove a theme in the reader’s face. That’s kind of what it felt like at times.

The end was rather anti-climatic. It ended fine but was predictable with no real surprises. So if reading a suspense thriller is riding a raft down the river knowing rapids are up ahead, Unbecoming gave us a swift thrill down the river without the rapids.

This book was worth what I paid for it: Nothing. It was a freebie. You know, there’s a reason publishers give away books for free. I thought the reason was because it was the first in a series. So you would read the first one and get hooked and read the rest. Boy was I wrong.

Addison Holmes, the main character is supposed to be the southern version of Stephanie Plum in the ever so famous and funny books by Janet Evanovich, which should have ended at book number five, but that’s a different review.

Here’s the problem, Addison Holmes isn’t funny and the book wasn’t the least bit interesting. I was trying to compare the two authors’ styles and trying to figure out why Evanovich sings and Hart sucks. The main difference that I can see is the Stephanie Plum series offers colorful characters, while Addison Holmes is the colorful character in an “I Love Lucy” fuck-up sort of way. Stephanie Plum just naturally finds herself in crazy situations; Addison Holmes situations were completely contrived.

If you’re looking for a light mystery and a fun romp, Evanovich provides a much better read.

If you’re looking for a thriller look someplace else.

There is a rule I abide by in order to not have hundreds of unread books lying around the house. The rule is if I buy a book I have to read it. Her was advertised as a thriller with lots of terrific reviews. This book was no thriller, it was the opposite of thriller it was a bore-er. My life is boring enough, I don’t want to read a book about somebody’s else’s humdrum days of picking up after children, doing dishes, trying to get baby to sleep — oops, those were spoilers and there’s another one coming.

Okay a good thriller is like being on a boat flowing down the river, and the river takes control of the boat and keeps rushing faster until you get to the rapids and barely eke through the danger to a calm in the water and a satisfactory conclusion. Here’s what Her was: a stagnant pool with an occasional ripple giving the reader hope of something more to come only to find more algae growth.

Spoiler Alert! The book ended exactly as I predicted. Here’s a clue: child and a swimming pool. Hmm, I wonder what’s going to happen. Of course, in typical literary fashion the ending is up in the air for the reader to decide and ponder. This book was a huge disappoint, and not worth the time or the $12.99 plus tax spent on it.

I once heard that when a movie claims it is based on true events, perhaps only 1% of the movie is true like perhaps the overall concept.  So that was what I expected from Compliance that it would take a real incident and twist it into something perverse and distorted.  The true event was perverse and distorted enough that a realistic portrayal of events was disturbing enough to last for a few days after viewing the film.

Compliance sure gives the viewer something to think about.  All during the movie, I was thinking that would never happen to me, I am certainly sophisticated enough to not be deceived by a prank caller pretending to be a cop.  Even if I was initially deceived, when it came to the strip search I would have said enough.  I would have called the station on another phone to see what was going on.  I would have questioned the scenario.  But maybe I shouldn’t be so hoity-toity, just because I wouldn’t be fooled in that specific type of scenario doesn’t mean I could never be fooled.

Haven’t we all complied to authority or peer-pressure, even when it goes against our good judgement or morality?  Hasn’t a boss asked us to something even as minor as working late when we had other family/friend commitments?  Some of us have had bosses who demanded we behave unethically by lying to customers or cutting corners etc.  So, you know, just because we think we have the good sense to stop something cruel and twisted, do we really — or have we never been confronted with the situation?

Good movie.  Very believable characters.  Must see preferably with someone you can discuss the whole thing over while having coffee, cake and a little ice cream.

Aye-yi-yi.

One of these days I’m going to make a list of movies that will cure insomnia, and Margin Call will be on the top of the list.  Talk about a nothing movie that was absolutely pointless.  Wow, it was kind of like watching a film of yourself at work.  How exciting is that?

Slow paced, boring, Margin Call may not be the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but tops the list for most boring.  No characterization, no plot, lifeless dialogue.  Watching it was   kind of like actually being at the job.  There were no characters to care about, they were all one dimensional, no surprises.  The so-called crisis that was going to crash the business and then the whole economy just didn’t make sense.  The movie was boring enough, they should have went ahead and fully explained the tedious details of how the company went wrong.  It was like we know what happens the economy crashes so let it crash already.

Nevertheless, Margin Call could become a natural cure for insomnia, instead of a sleeping pill try and stay awake through this film.

 

Was Bad Teacher a bad movie?  Yeah, kind of, but it was a lot of fun and not terribly heart-warming.  Thank God.  For some reason, I wanted to see the film really bad, I think the previews made the movie seem like something I would like.  And, you know, it was predictable and fun, and enjoyable, but not great, but I didn’t have great expectations for a movie like Bad Teacher.

Ted was better than Bad Teacher. Ted was funnier, less predictable and Mila Kunis got to portray somebody really pretty, normal, and sweet instead of pretty and conceited like she played in That 70’s Show, or pretty and seductive as she played in Black Swan or pretty ugly like her character is portrayed in Family Guy.

But the movie I liked best was Tower Heist with Ben Stiller, who did not disappoint. Yeah, heists are always good since I want to pull one off someday.  I’m waiting until I’m 80 so that if I get caught and have to go to prison for the rest of my life I won’t have to be there very long.  What’s more at 80 I can act all senile and stuff, who would suspect an 80 year old woman pulling off a heist?  Nobody, right?  There you go.  Besides if I got caught,  prison would serve as the old age home and Medicare rolled into one.

If perchance I didn’t get caught, being the honest person I am, would have to give it back.  Can you imagine the embarrassment of the institution that was heisted by a half-senile old woman? Oh well, 80 is a long way off, so in the meantime I’ll just keep watching movies.

The problem with the movie Abduction was the premise didn’t make sense.  The only unpredictable element of the film was it turned out to be a thriller.  For some stupid reason, like maybe I didn’t read the synopsis, I thought the film was going to take a serious look at the issue of an adopted teenager learning that he had actually been kidnapped as a child.

Nope.  This movie was some kind of spy thriller, that didn’t have too many spies, and very few thrills.  The main character boy was a child of spies and his mother got killed when he was quite young.  The father had his colleague spies adopt the boy and raise him to keep him safe. So when the boy turned into a teenager, he happened upon a phoney abduction website put there by the bad guys to find the kid.  Why?  Because there was an encoded list that the boy’s father acquired and if the bad guys get the boy, then they can use him for leverage to get the list. Except, the list was only acquired two days earlier, yet the adoptive spies were hiding him for 16 years for this very purpose.  Come on.

The movie had the usual twists and turns you expect in a thriller.  Ho-hum.  That the was problem all the twists and turns were the same ol’, same ol’.  A good thriller keeps you gripped and guessing, Abduction did none of that.